And the People Stayed Home


This poem has been making the rounds, falsely attribute someone named Kathleen O’Mara in 1869, and then falsely said to have been reprinted in 1919 during the Spanish Flu pandemic. This poem is actually written during this COVID-19 pandemic by author Kitty O’Meara.

O’Meara posted this to her blog The Daily Round on March 16, 2020. It went viral (no pun intended), racking up thousands of shares as it circulated on social media. On March 19, Oprah Magazine dubbed O’Meara, a former teacher in Madison, Wisconsin, the “poet laureate of the pandemic.”  Since she wasn’t seeking online fame, it’s all been “embarrassing” to her. “I hope it’s over, because that’s not what I ever longed for.”

A former teacher and chaplain, O’Meara is now retired. She said, the poem “offers a story of how it could be, what we could do with this time.”  It was written in one sitting, the byproduct of months of built-up anxiety while watching the pandemic brew on the news.

“I was anxious for the past few months. I knew this was coming and I couldn’t be of service,” O’Meara tells OprahMag.com. After years working in palliative care, O’Meara is especially concerned for her friends who still work in the health care profession and are on the frontlines of battling the virus.

About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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